ICCA president James Rees sent out the following message, 19 July:
Dear ICCA Colleagues,
As we reach the end of the first half of 2021, it is a natural point at which to reflect on the continuing effects of the global pandemic on our personal and working lives and on the international events industry as a whole.
For a truly global industry association such as ICCA, these effects have been seen and shared by us all through our network of colleagues across all of ICCA’s sectors.
With this business backdrop, the ICCA teams at our offices around the world have been creating every possible opportunity for members to stay connected and to learn from each other as we discover the experiences and successes that are being achieved and which can be applied to our own organisations.
Since the start of this year, I have had the privilege of attending the many chapter meetings that have been taking place across the world and it has been inspiring to listen to, and discuss with members and our chapter leadership how each region is responding to the challenges presented by the current pandemic.
We have been challenged to think differently and be open to a faster pace of change than we might be used to, and it is heartening to see ICCA members leading the way in thinking about and creating new formats and plans for future event design for the post-pandemic world.
Most importantly, ICCA membership renewal and retention has exceeded all expectations so far this year and I, along with the ICCA Board and Management Team, am extremely thankful for this support which places ICCA in a position of strength and confidence for the future and allows us continue our plans for innovative change.
In recent weeks, I am delighted to say that the Future Leaders Council has held its first meetings and this passionate and committed group of young professionals will help bring fresh ideas and strategies to our plans in the months and years ahead. Our team at Head Office in Amsterdam has recently been strengthened, including the development of some new roles, which will support and enhance member benefits and help drive future innovation.
And so, as governments increase their vaccination programmes and society begins to benefit from fewer restrictions in our freedom to travel and do business, it is ICCA’s duty to provide the opportunities to connect its supplier and association members to discuss and debate the future in order to prepare us all for the full reopening of our industry. In discussing these matters with our members, it is clear that the pandemic has given us reason, perhaps forced us, to pause and reflect on how we manage our events and how we can make them ever more relevant in the future. We cannot take for granted the fact that our attendees will simply return to events that have the same formats as they did before the pandemic struck.
These are the key challenges on which we will focus at our Annual Congress this year in our host city of Cartagena. Registration for the congress will open shortly and we are excited to be returning to Latin America for the first time since 2015.
The collaboration of ICCA members this year is allowing us to look forward with certainty and optimism. I very much look forward to this continued sharing of knowledge in the coming months and to seeing as many of you as possible, in person, later in the year.
Sending my very best wishes to all ICCA members,